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At the risk of talking (typing?)too much and boring everyone else on the list, 
the postings by Marissa Januzzi and Bryan Draper have prompted me to offer a 
clarification of what I meant by documentation and its purposes in the hope 
that it will focus subsequent discussion.  Certainly Bryan is right that the 
sheer numbers of volumes needing repair precludes extensive description of
them, and since machine cased books are virtual clones of each other neither 
is there much point.  Documentation aims at recording structural particulars 
of handbound books which are, potentially, of interest to those studying 
regional styles or the development and spread of binding techniques.  This 
information can also be informative as to possible provenance.  Bibliographers 
often do not report details, or cannot because they are no longer visible (e.g.
spine linings) once the binder/conservator has finished, especially if they 
have been removed!  Since books could be bound in places far from 
where they were published, be altered or repaired by various persons, and
 accumulate various notations and scraps of other printed or 
handwritten matter over time, it seems only reasonable that one should make 
an effort to keep such information from disappearing if possible. 

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